The Dark Side of the Cotton Industry

Upon discovering the effects of cotton dust, I felt compelled to make people aware of this problem. It was shocking to realize how textile workers suffered when breathing in this invisible toxin that was slowly killing them. After watching these three eye-opening videos, the importance of health and safety in the workplace seems more important than ever.

Cotton Dust

1.       Cotton Mill Workers and Brown Lung 1979 Song of the Canary

A short and insightful clip, it points out many people in North and South Carolina who are employed  in the cotton mill industry. Unfortunately, as more workers get deeper into this field, they’re exposed to the harmful inhalation of cotton dust. Working in the mills is not for the faint of heart. This segment is worth watching as one will see how these dust particles can lead to Brown Lung Disease, and many other horrible fates.

2.       Cotton Dust Exposure Brown Lung Disease Control 1996 NIOSH

A segment revealing the life-threatening issues in the cotton mill industry as a result of cotton dust. There are many cases of workers being mistreated in the textile business for the sake of profit. However, this is a case of workers being reminded they have rights as their lives are at risk when exposed to cotton dust. This is a clip worth watching as you’ll learn that standing up to improve safety is a must!


As cotton arrives in the mill and is manufactured into products, harmful dust is projected into the air affecting many textile workers. Breathlessness and coughing seems to be just the beginning of the toxic effects. This is an insightful video that brings hope by showing how the cotton mill industry implements plans to improve the lives of workers. It’s inspiring to see to what can be accomplished when workers demand their right to protect their health.


3.       Cotton Dust Hazard and Control Case 1980

In the past, the effects of cotton dust were not taken seriously. This is a story of demanding and implementing safety regulations in the cotton mills due to the growing case of Brown Lung Disease. Although numerous workers complain about the effects of inhaling cotton dust, they are ignorantly reminded that they must accept the harsh environment of the workplace. It’s pleasing to see workers putting their health first when harmed. I find it amazing what persistence can do in the face of adversity. This is a video that you don’t want to miss.

After watching these videos, I realized even despite money and other perks that come out of a job, health should always be put first. I find it heartbreaking to see that so many workers in this trade were still willing to work, despite being slowly killed by cotton dust. I’ve learned to never be afraid to go against the higher ups in business if it means protecting your health. I hope these videos inspire you as well!

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About the Author

Sam is a third year film studies student at Wilfrid Laurier University. He loves going to the movies. He has recently developed a interest in the environment and is always excited to learn new things. At any time he can seen keeping up with the newest release dates of upcoming movies.

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